Plant-Based Backpacking or Car Camping Food

Packing enough plant-based calories when combining travel with outdoor activity is easy if planned properly.Three tips: 

  1. Pack high-fat foods like home-made bars made with coconut oil, nuts and seeds 
  2. Fuel up on longer-lasting carbohydrates (whole grains such as 100% whole wheat breads, brown rice, quinoa, millet, and brown rice pasta).
  3. Double or triple up on protein, such as pairing legumes and tempeh with couscous, rice, or quinoa. 

Sample Meals to Prepare/Pack:

BreakfastCoffee with dried soymilk or vegan hot chocolate mix. For dry hot cocoa mix: Equal mix of cacao or cocoa powder to brown sugar + 2 TBS (for 8 oz) dried soy milk, such as Better than Milk available on Amazon. Add dark chocolate pieces + hot water when preparing.Oatmeal with brown sugar or dates, dried berries, fresh banana slices or banana chips, almonds, walnuts, and sunflower seeds + optional cinnamon and coconut flakes.Dry Pancake Mix: 1/2 cup whole wheat flour, 2 TBS brown sugar, 1/2 tsp baking powder & 3/4 cup unsweetened plain soymilk (or mix 2 TBS soy powder + water when preparing pancakes to = 3/4 cup). This recipe is from The Vegan Corner’s pancake recipe with a modification to the milk. If car camping, top pancakes with maple syrup + vegan butter, such as Earth Balance or Miyoko’s CreameryMore Toppings: Dried or fresh berries, coconut flakes, dairy-free chocolate chips, cinnamon, walnuts, nut butter.

Lunch Raw broccoli, cauliflower, sugar snap peas, celery and carrots are hearty travel veggies (keep in center of backpack to stay cool. Should last a couple of days depending on temperature). Hummus, crackers, fresh veggies, cheese slices, cashews & dates all make great trail food and a filling lunch while on the road or on a trail.

Pre-made nut butter and jam sandwiches (or bring along nut butter packets, such as Justin’s, and bread slices).

Hearty Backpacker Seitan Burritos (pre-made): Saute the following ingredients using 2 TBS tamari (gluten-free, lower sodium soy sauce) + 2-3 TBS water (or 1-2 tsp oil): 4 minced garlic, 1 whole package of seitan (I use Upton’s Naturals brand) rinsed and diced into cubes + 2 small pre-cooked diced potatoes. After 5 minutes add: 1.5 tsp smoked paprika, pinch of cayenne, 1 cup cooked beans, a small handful of fresh greens (optional), and a small amount of salsa. Allow to cool before wrapping into tortillas of choice. Add rice for more bulk. To Freeze: Wrap in parchment paper then store in freezer-safe containers until ready to pack.

DinnerPre-baked tempeh mixed with pre-cooked rice-lentil packets (365 brand from Whole Foods). 

Engine 2 vegan chili can be found at Whole Foods. Bulk it up with tempeh and pre-cooked potatoes.
McDougall’s just-add-water soups are good served with potatoes and/or rice + tempeh.

Dehydrated soups and beans found online: Santa Fe Bean Co. for vegetarian refried beans; Taste Adventure for dry soup bases such as black bean, green split pea, minestrone and curry lentil; Outdoor Herbivore offers a wide range of dehydrated meals for the vegan backpacker, such as oatmeal, quinoa, salads, curries, burritos, rice & beans; Mary Janes Farm has an extensive list of breakfast, lunch & dinner options including oatmeal, burritos, pasta, hummus, bread, sauces, and brownies (to name jyst a few). Hot water can be poured right into the pouch and eaten, using the pouch as the bowl and as fire starter when dry. There are also bulk meals/foods available. 


Lots of options…Garlic cloves, small container of olive oil, bread/tortillas; salt & pepper, red chile flakes, nutritional yeast flakes like Bragg’s or Kal (for a cheesy topping + good source of B12), onion flakes, garlic powder, and gomasio (spices & seeds can be stored in small packets); tomato paste tube for pasta; sundried tomatoes; almond or peanut butter packets (great added to beans, greens & potato/rice bowl)

SnacksPre-Made Muesli Bars: 2 cups total mix of almonds, oats and hemp seeds to 2 cups total mix of raisins (optional) and/or pitted dates + 2 TBS maple syrup and 2 TBS melted coconut oil all processed in the food processor in batches, using melted coconut oil or wet hands to form the bars. Top with dairy-free chocolate chips. Store in freezer- safe containers for up to 3 months.

Vegan protein powder (we use Vega brand) to mix with water or non-dairy milk.

Vegan cheese + crackers–Whole Foods has non-dairy cheese options or try Miyoko’s Kitchen online or make your own like these crackers from The Kitchn.:-). 

Dandies vegan marshmallows are available online so bring those vegan graham crackers and chocolate!

…Bananas of course!

And roasted chickpeas


  • Quantum Vegan’s article on “your guide to vegan camping” 
  • Gossamer Gear article on “vegan backpacking food” 
  • Backpacking Vegan Blog 

Follow The Colorful Vegan on Facebook and Instagram


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Thanks for the reference! 😀 I used to think plant-based camping was difficult, but it’s articles like these that debunk that myth and make it seem inviting.

    Liked by 1 person

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